Memos show McCallum OK’d paymentsTwo memos signed by Dr. Richard McCallum and obtained Monday after an open records request show the suspended Dickinson State University president approved additional scholarship payments to two international students. It has not been determined, however, if McCallum committed any wrongdoings in that decision.
By: By Dustin Monke, Forum Communications Co., The Jamestown Sun
Two memos signed by Dr. Richard McCallum and obtained Monday after an open records request show the suspended Dickinson State University president approved additional scholarship payments to two international students.
It has not been determined, however, if McCallum committed any wrongdoings in that decision.
The memos show McCallum approved two students be awarded Roughrider Scholarship Award funds in excess of the university’s current limit of $500 per semester or $1,000 annually. In one case, McCallum approved one student receive four times the scholarship limit per semester.
The memos were sent to McCallum for approval by Ronnie Walker, DSU’s director of multicultural affairs.
The names of the two students in the memos were removed because of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
However, a memo dated Jan. 13 specifically noted the student approved to $4,000 annually in Roughrider scholarship funds was or had been a member of the DSU volleyball team.
Norman Coley, DSU’s director of enrollment services said the university president has the authority to increase the money awarded to students through the Roughrider Scholarship Award if there are extenuating circumstances.
“That would be, basically, a decision that had come from the president’s office, with regards to anything above the allotted amounts that are specified as far as in the award for the scholarship,” Coley said. “It requires presidential approval to be able to make that decision. As the president, he has that discretionary authority to provide, above and beyond, that stated amount. I think in that situation, I believe there was some extenuating circumstances that, in his vantage point, he felt should be awarded a higher Roughrider scholarship.”
According to a memo dated Dec. 15 and released Friday, at least one student-athlete had asked an employee in the university’s multicultural affairs office in December why they were no longer receiving additional cash funds promised by former head volleyball coach Ryan Platt to cover housing costs.
Platt had resigned a few days earlier after the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) placed him and the volleyball team on probation through the 2011-12 school year for violations committed during the 2010 season. The violations involved inappropriate conduct and the use of ineligible players.
The memos obtained Monday stated two students, who also received tuition waivers through DSU’s Global Awareness Program for international students, appealed for assistance in an athletic awards case.
The memo dated Jan. 13 states a student would now be receiving $2,000 per semester in Roughrider scholarship funds retroactive to the 2010 fall semester through the 2012 spring semester in place of a volleyball scholarship. That student would also continue to receive a 100 percent global awareness award.
In the memo dated March 23, a student-athlete was approved to receive a Roughrider scholarship for $1,578.73 for the 2011 spring semester in addition to a 100 percent global awareness award and a $3,500 athletic award.
A different memo, dated Dec. 16 and approved by McCallum, requested about $1,600 per semester in one-time additional Roughrider scholarship funds for three student-athletes from the Las Vegas area.
Coley wrote that memo and included a detailed rationale for the request.
The memos regarding the students from Las Vegas, written by Coley, stated: “Their arrival conflicted with the financial aid census deadline, which negatively impacted the students ability to receive financial aid.”
However, the two memos regarding additional fund requests for the two international student-athletes do not include any such rationale or background information.
Other documents obtained Monday by The Dickinson Press show the Roughrider Scholarship Award was originally known as the Roughrider Homestead Scholarship and was originally intended for North Dakota high school graduates and community college transfer students.
Coley said he does not know if those stipulations are still associated with the Roughrider Scholarship Award.
Hal Haynes, DSU’s vice president for student development, said he understands the award is available for all students.
“I don’t know it for a fact,” Haynes said.
Additional scholarship documents obtained by The Press showed that more than 40 out-of-state students who received the Roughrider scholarship were awarded either $1,000 or $500.
No one other than the two international students and three students from the Las Vegas area received additional assistance.
Dustin Monke is a reporter for The Dickinson Press, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.